By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- The top U.S. point man on the East Asian and Pacific region pledged every effort to assure regional partners that his country will continue to be there to support peace and stability.
"We have important work and an exciting agenda with Asia in the coming months and years," Daniel R. Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said at his swearing-in ceremony Monday, according to the department's official transcript.
"The well-being and future of the United States is imminently connected to the peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific region," he added.
He was referring to the Barack Obama administration's strategy of placing more diplomatic and military emphasis on the region after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Now I know that beyond our borders there will always be people who wonder about America's intentions and our staying power," he said.
Russel said U.S. allies and partners want to know "if they can continue to rely on the United States to provide the security, the intellectual capital, the technology, the dynamism and the creativity that has underpinned the stability and has driven the extraordinary growth of East Asia over the past seven decades."
He stressed, "The answer is 'yes.'"
In a ceremony attended by Secretary of State John Kerry, Russel said, "You can count on me, and you can count on your very talented team in the East Asia and Pacific Bureau."
Having served at the White House National Security Council for the past four and a half years, Russel played a pivotal role in crafting the Obama administration's strategy for the so-called pivot toward Asia.
Two main principles of the approach are close cooperation with the treaty allies and partners of the U.S. and efforts to transform Washington's relations with former adversaries as well as build new models of practical cooperation in its ties with emerging powers.
Russel, a career diplomat known for long experience on Asia, assumed his current post at the State Department in mid-July.
He recalled the time when he became a diplomat three decades ago.
"In 1985, I stood in this historic Ben Franklin room and first took the oath as a newly commissioned junior officer in the Foreign Service. So today is a dream come true for me," he said. "I'm happy to be home now in the State Department and part of this team."